Live ensemble enthrals the City of Joy

(From left) Greg Ellis, Pete Lockett, Bickram Ghosh and dancer Doris Martel— ASIAN AGE

(From left) Greg Ellis, Pete Lockett, Bickram Ghosh and dancer Doris Martel— ASIAN AGE

Culminating the year on a musical note, the culture-capital witnessed top-guns of international percussion right at the heart of Kolkata’s Rabindra Sarobar. This one-of-a-kind spectacular show was a part of the hugely popular ‘Live-in’concert series

Pulsating beats, foot-tapping rhythm and innovative concepts reverberated in the air when a mighty instrumental trio took to the centrestage of a scintillating musical extravaganza, recently held in Kolkata. In today’s digital times, when an open-air soiree in the lawns or by a scenic lake is a rarity, the “wired and plugged-in” age of contemporary music has seriously robbed discreet listeners from enjoying sangeet at live-concerts abounding in a festival-like ambience.
With technology, piracy and YouTube toppling the live-scene at the moment, events like the nightlong mehfil of Doverlane Music Conference are scarcely hosted on cityscapes these days. “The beauty of a live music performance is that, it comes to you unedited. It is pure and original in content. Hence, that first-hand experience can certainly give TV-viewing some stiff competition, where the pitch is usually corrected and the shots are enhanced. There’s a lot of patchwork involved in a vicarious experience, unlike live shows,” observed ace percussionist-composer Bickram Ghosh, who recently enthralled a mammoth crowd of music enthusiasts with rounds of blaring percussion beats alongside Peter Robert Lockett and Greg Ellis. While Lockett is a dynamic English percussionist and a recording artiste, Ellis is a superbly talented American drummer.
Culminating the year on a musical note, the culture-capital could witness the world premiere of a big event featuring the top-guns of international percussion right at the heart of Kolkata’s Rabindra Sarobar. This one-of-a-kind spectacular show was a part of the hugely popular “Live-in” concert series, which continues to keep alive the spirit of live music intact among its avid junkies, critics and patrons.
Amidst lush greens and along the hems of a glistening wide water-body, the musical soiree aptly fetched in the true flavours of a bonafide, unprogrammed rendition, thus retaining its raw appeal to the fullest.
On this note, one may recall the sensational spectacle of the well-known African pop-group Osibisa, which rocked the party at the brigade Parade grounds of the City of Joy, three decades ago in 1982. Aiming to host a string of 200 concerts annually as part of the ongoing scheduled “Live-in” shows, Ghosh in his capacity as the artistic director enlisted that there will be “an exhaustive utilisation of musical platforms into nine varieties within the next one year with schools, parks, cafes, night-clubs and youth-bands, earmarked as the thrust areas.” “Fact is, we are gradually losing the tangibility to a live-music milieu. So this initiative was inevitable to counterbalance the effects of music being disseminated via the electronic medium,” he opined.
Also on board were four other musician collaborators, accompanying to ignite a sparkling fusion of great magnitude on the stage. The new-age Caribbean dancer, Doris Martel with her composite mix of contemporary elements, Goutam Das Baul with his folksy interludes, the classically trained Abhishek Malik on his electric sitar and the talented guitarist-cum-keyboardist Indrajit Dey too revved up the jamming session with the “towering three” at the Rabindra Sarobar stage. This grand musical fiesta was jointly organised by Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority in association with the Calcutta Classical Guitar Society.
Coming together for the first time in India, Greg and Pete gelled smoothly like bread and butter and soon throbbed the Kolkata stage with their proficient playing skills. From foot tapping to swinging to the tunes; from air-guitaring to jiving and head banging to the beats — the gathering on the gallery steps went absolutely crazy with the peppy, electrifying music. “The Live-in-Lakes concerts are really proving their worth and growing steadily with each foot forward. Walking out of a cramped space in closed-door, compact auditoriums, the outdoor shows at the ground level no doubt lend more freedom, verve and intensity to the players as well as impel the live-watchers to let their hair down at an uninhibited ease. I think the beauty of a natural setting with its surrounding trees and chirping birds can really be explored to the hilt by frequently organising such music gigs and rockfests. There is no harm in utilising an empty haven in the right manner. Decking or lighting up the club lawns will make it look all the more gorgeous for sure. Exploiting an unutilised, barren place to make it ideally functional in a
constructive, creative way, be it with a classical recital or else by band music is what the primary objective of a live-in-lake concert conforms to,” assured Ghosh.
While this was Martel’s first trip to India, she promised to return to discover the country in greater detail. “I want to taste its rich essence, diverse nuances and finer sensibilities in my next tryst with India and her music,” she said.
Trained in ballet and rhythmic gymnastics, Doris melds her dance with aerobics and other workout forms. “It’s a kind of fitness regimen,” utters the livewire in a lighter vein. While most people hit the gym to burn extra calories, she just dances her way to fitness and her hourglass figure vouches for that. Also, integrating her repertoire with a plethora of different cultures like African, French, American, Bollywood, Persian et al, Doris knows how to get the world at her feet. Born and raised in Paris, this Caribbean choreographer said, “Drums and music activate me and I respond to the stimulating beat-sound-n-rhythm that agile percussionists conjure up on stage. I end up translating what I absorb from others while vibing with them and the result bears a new hue from within the framework of my dance-palette. I’m also keen to learn more about the grammar of Indian classical dance and pick up its subtle aesthetics.” Drawing major influences from genres around the globe, Doris trots from one culture to another to learn new things. “My grandfather hailed from West Indies. So there is a heavy mix of inspiration from the island as well. Besides, I travel a lot to soak in a tapestry of variety from both sides of the map like a sponge,” she added.
While both Pete and Greg will come back to India by this December, the former artiste is performing in Vietnam shortly. “Embracing different cultures and meeting new people puts things in a novel perspective and make a musical sojourn super exciting!” exclaimed an elated Pete. Having done workshops in Kolkata with a select group of aspiring talents, both the brilliant beat makers feel that India is a warehouse of raw talent ready to be tapped into for a refined finish.

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